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Old 6th September 2015, 18:19   #1
M35
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Default Whistling Trails: In search of Birds and Wildlife

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Quote:
"Do you ne'er think what wondrous beings these?
Do you ne'er think who made them, and who taught
The dialect they speak, where melodies
Alone are the interpreters of thought?
Whose household words are songs in many keys,
Sweeter than instrument of man e'er caught!"

- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's 'Tales of a Wayside Inn'
This is a photologue, a compilation of my humble short birding trails around my home and roadside bird watching.

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I was not a naturalist. But ever since I began to see the world through lenses, everything looked different, pleasantly different. I was back in India for a couple of months during rains this year. Had quite a number of places to visit for personal works and made sure my back-pack containing my photo-gear found a permanent place in my “Scorp”. The idea was to convert every single drive in to a birding trail in order to quench my thirst for birding. Understandably, the plan didn’t materialize fully due to tight schedule but did manage to capture some action.

Palakkad is my native, near Ottapalam more precisely. Previously known as Palghat is considered as the Gateway of Kerala, giving the rest of India access to the State. Paddy field, a common sight here. Was returning home that day after a short birding drive.
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There are quite a lot of birds around here. It is only that I needed to find certain locations with less human activity/presence. The most common bird that I see around were the Green-Bee eaters !
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These were usually spotted in open places and small little grass lands. What fascinated the most was their bright green plumage and the attractive long tail-feathers. I usually wait patiently next to where I spot them and keep waiting for them to return after the kill. They usually return with a bee or a fly.
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Quote:
Today, the green bee-eater is classified as a species that is in least danger of immediate extinction in the wild. However, the decline in both their native habitat and bee population numbers around the world, could have devastating consequences for this plucky little bird.
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Note: These pictures of Green-Bee Eaters and all the pictures to follow were taken on different occasions during July/August-2015.

Edit: Please click on the images to view them in higher resolution

Last edited by M35 : 6th September 2015 at 18:38.
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Old 6th September 2015, 19:24   #2
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Default Re: Whistling Trails: In search of Birds and Wildlife

Around my home, along the paddy fields I do spot these Kingfishers quite often. I always wanted to get closer and capture them with their prey. The key for me was to identify a spot and keep waiting for them patiently.
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It’s fun to watch them taking off and landing in a flash with a crab or a fish and then beating it down the throat.

If I am right, this is a White-throated Kingfisher.
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This Pied Kingfisher was spotted at Ranganthittu/Mysore, this time around.
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A Common Kingfisher spotted at Nehru Zoological park @ Hyderabad
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A White-throated Kingfisher spotted at Nehru Zoological park @ Hyderabad
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Quote:
Kingfishers nest in tree hollows and holes dug into the ground, which tend to be in river banks or at the sides of lakes. Kingfishers dig small tunnels with their nest at the end, which can range in length depending on the species. The giant kingfisher is known to dig tunnels that are over 8 meters long! Female kingfishers lay up to 10 eggs (although normally less), and both the male and the female kingfishers help to incubate the eggs, which hatch in between 3 and 4 weeks.

Last edited by M35 : 7th September 2015 at 08:35.
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Old 6th September 2015, 19:58   #3
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Default Re: Whistling Trails: In search of Birds and Wildlife

When in India, I frequent Palakkad-Munnar stretch.
That morning I spotted this Oriental Magpie Robin (Please correct me if I am wrong) at our home near Munnar. Never expected to spot a bird as it was raining the whole night.
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Another Oriental Magpie Robin spotted @Ranganthittu/Mysore.

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Quote:
Magpies are noted to be highly intelligent birds and are often able to sense approaching danger relatively quickly. Magpies are known to be dominant and curious birds but are relatively secretive when they feel they are in danger. Magpies are also known to mimic the calls of other birds and have fully taken advantage of new food sources created by the presence of humans.

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Old 7th September 2015, 18:36   #4
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Default Re: Whistling Trails: In search of Birds and Wildlife

It was fun capturing a Common Myna prey on a Grasshopper, this close. Captured the action from “Scorp” through the window on my left.
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Earlier spotted one on the beautiful Marayur-Udualpettai stretch.
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Quote:
An aggressive and confident bird, the common myna has adapted well to the urban environment, making it one of the most abundant and familiar birds in Asia

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Old 7th September 2015, 19:29   #5
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Default Re: Whistling Trails: In search of Birds and Wildlife

As I was lazily driving down along the beautiful Marayur-Udumalpettai stretch, spotted these Pied Bushchats. They were quite cooperative if I stayed inside my “Scorp” but didn’t like whenever I tried to get out for better balance while shooting.
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Quote:
Small birds with generally black (male) or brown (female) plumage

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A Bushlark, not sure whether it is Jerdon’s or Indian.

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Quote:
The Indian Bushlark is distinguished from Jerdon's bush lark by its longer tail, shorter bill and legs.

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Old 7th September 2015, 19:49   #6
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These tiny Sunbirds and Plain Prinias are so quick that capturing them difficult and equally fun.

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Quote:
The sunbirds have counterparts in two very distantly related groups: the hummingbirds of the Americas and the honeyeaters of Australia.

Plain Prinia, I guess.
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Quote:
In winter, the upperparts are a warmer brown, and the underparts more buff. The tail is longer than in summer.
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Old 7th September 2015, 20:04   #7
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Default Re: Whistling Trails: In search of Birds and Wildlife

A Drongo. Loved those red eyes.

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Quote:
Two to four eggs are laid in a nest high in a tree. Despite their small size, they are aggressive and fearless, and will attack much larger species if their nest or young are threatened.
A Red-vented Bulbul.

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Quote:
Communication:Several different types of calls that include greeting, alarm, fight, distress, roosting and begging.--many of which are high pitched.

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Old 8th September 2015, 07:31   #8
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Default Re: Whistling Trails: In search of Birds and Wildlife

My companion for birding.


“Scorp” parked near a Temple about a couple of kilometers from my home in Palakkad. A typical Ottapalam village scene.
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“Scorp” on the way back to our home in Munnar, after a short birding trip.
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“Scorp” @ Kava/Malampuzha, Palakkad.



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Beyond Malampuzha Dam, driving along the Kava – Anakkal stretch is an unforgettable delight for Nature lovers.
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Old 8th September 2015, 08:22   #9
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Default Re: Whistling Trails: In search of Birds and Wildlife

While in Hyderabad, we visited the Nehru Zoological park. Though I don’t fancy shooting captive animals and birds, found these big cats in quite vast areas moving around freely in a more or less natural setting.

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Old 8th September 2015, 10:52   #10
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Default Re: Whistling Trails: In search of Birds and Wildlife

While driving back home from Hyderabad, we took a detour via Mysore mainly to pass through the likes of Ranganthittu/Mysore and Bandipur.

Ranganthittu looked 'dry', not many birds = off season, hence did not bother spending more time there.

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Driving through Bandipur forest stretch is very refreshing as always.The roads up to TN border is in great shape and the monsoon has given it a lush green outfit.
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Old 8th September 2015, 11:53   #11
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Default Re: Whistling Trails: In search of Birds and Wildlife

Will take a break for time being.
Will update this thread with more birding/wildlife experience in the future.
Bye for now and see you soon.


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Old 8th September 2015, 12:05   #12
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Default Re: Whistling Trails: In search of Birds and Wildlife

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section). Thanks for sharing!

Beautifully crafted images. (Need I even say that!)

But didn't I tell you to NOT do away with that wide angle? You may take very few with them, but what comes out you will remember for ever.

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Old 8th September 2015, 13:59   #13
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Default Re: Whistling Trails: In search of Birds and Wildlife

Fantastic photographs there Manoj. If I may ask what gear have you used for these pictures please?

Also next time in Hyderabad, please give me a shout
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Old 8th September 2015, 16:24   #14
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Default Re: Whistling Trails: In search of Birds and Wildlife

Very beautiful and captivating pictures. I know it takes lot of efforts and patient to capture these wingi creatures this beautiful! Loved it!
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Old 8th September 2015, 17:41   #15
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Default Re: Whistling Trails: In search of Birds and Wildlife

Quote:
Originally Posted by M35 View Post

Plain Prinia, I guess.
Excellent photos! Pleasure to see them.

This particular bird, I believe, is the common tailorbird. Belongs to the same species and has similar habits to prinias. The giveaway is the dark line on the sides of the throat which is particularly more visible during calling.

Happened to spot a family of them outside an apartment in Mumbai last week.
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